England assistant coach Paul Farbrace praised Daniel Bell-Drummond’s role in a commanding opening stand which inspired the South XI’s opening win against the North in a three-match series in Dubai.
The former Kent coach, who leads the South side, said: “I thought Malan and Bell-Drummond were fantastic. We talked in the interval that it wasn’t an easy surface in terms of the ball was skidding a bit certainly with the new ball.
“But I thought the way they went in and played strong cricket shots up and down the ground, and any missed length they just put away, I thought they just put them under pressure from ball one.
“Malan struck the ball brilliantly the other day against UAE and he’s continued it today. He knows this is a great opportunity for him to show Trevor Bayliss and James Whitaker he should be in the England side.
“He came close last summer, he was in the T20 squad and didn’t make the final eleven, and he wants to play for England. His record has been outstanding that’s why he’s been picked and he wants to show people that he’s a high-quality player.
“Bell-Drummond and Malan, they could have easily got to 60 and got out, actually they didn’t, both of them showed that they’re desperate to play for England. They got stuck in, and batted beautifully.
Bayliss underlined the importance of the encounter and said: “I think both teams are taking it very seriously. It’s an unbelievable opportunity, that’s what both coaches have impressed on our teams.
“You’ve got someone like Malan who hasn’t been involved with the Lions this winter, Northeast who has never been involved, Finny and Wood who are trying to get themselves into the Champions Trophy, other young players who have been on the fringe – to come here to an international stadium and show their skills and worth, what a brilliant opportunity.
“There’s a good mixture here. Having people like Tim Bresnan here who’s obviously been there done it got the T-shirt, and you saw today he batted really well and he’s a quality bowler. So to have him involved in the fixtures as well just adds to it.
“I don’t think motivation is going to be an issue over the course of these three games. There is a little cash prize but also bragging rights, kudos over your mates in the opposition – there’s some individual battles where blokes have been on Lions tours together, sharing rooms and now they’re in opposition. ”
“We certainly expect on Sunday the North will be absolutely flying back to prove that today is a one-off and they’re as good as if not better than the South team.”